Billy Dean Randall spent a lifetime in the skies and on the streets.
In the skies, he was known as a first-class pilot who taught hundreds of Midlands aviators to fly. He also flew hundreds of mission trips to preach the gospel and help the poor in the Caribbean.
On the ground, Randall was a man of faith who founded a Baptist church and fought in federal court for the First Amendment rights of street preachers.
"We have to stand up for what we believe is right, and Billy did that better than most people I know," said Jim Hamilton, the former longtime manager of Columbia's Jim Hamilton-L.B. Owens Airport.
Randall, 71, died Wednesday when his Buick Park Avenue was struck by a car driven by Mary McAllister Reames, 20, of Monroe Street. Reames, a sophomore at USC, was charged with felony driving under the influence and was released from jail Friday on $100,000 bail.
The wreck happened about 5:40 p.m. when Reames was driving east on Whaley Street. She ran a red light at the Assembly Street intersection and hit two cars, according to Columbia Police Department reports. She first struck a 2003 Oldsmobile Intrigue traveling south on Assembly. She then ran into the driver's side of Randall's Buick as he waited to make a left turn onto Whaley from Assembly, police said.
He died at the scene. The Oldsmobile's driver was not injured.
Randall had just picked the Buick up from a Rosewood Drive repair shop and was heading home to Lexington, said Stoney Truett, a friend and fellow pilot.
He was supposed to preach a Wednesday night sermon at Concord Baptist Church in Red Bank, said the Rev. Stephen Williamson, pastor of Gethsemane Baptist Church.
Randall founded Gethsemane in 1976 and served as its pastor until 2003. But he did not limit his preaching to the pulpit.
Randall led a band of fiery street preachers who delivered hellfire sermons on the sidewalks of downtown Columbia, Swansea and Beaufort. He was arrested for public preaching multiple times.
In the late 1980s, Randall was involved in a battle to prevent the city of Beaufort from restricting street preachers. The town had created an anti-noise ordinance that targeted street preachers, who were drawing complaints from business owners. The preachers sued - and won - saying the ordinance violated their civil rights.
"The gospel message has never been popular," Randall told The State newspaper in 1988. "They crucified Jesus Christ over it. If folks don't take the message, that's not an offense to me. They're rejecting the Lord Jesus Christ. It's not the preachers' desire to be offensive. It's the Gospel's effect sometimes. We don't try to incite something like that."
Randall also used his ability to fly planes to carry out his religious convictions. He flew countless missions to Caribbean nations, often landing on remote islands to drop off medical supplies, Bibles and missionaries, Truett said.
He also was a well-respected flight instructor who still was in high demand, Truett said.
Larry Wilson, a Columbia venture capitalist, met Randall after asking the Federal Aviation Administration to recommend an instructor pilot. The two flew together for the next six years, making regular trips to New York where Wilson is a partner in an investment firm.
After the 2010 Haiti earthquake, Randall took a year off flying for Wilson to fly mission trips to that island. They were scheduled to fly again next week, Wilson said.
Many people who knew Randall said they hoped something good would come of the accident. That's the way he would want it, they said.
"There are two tragedies in this," Wilson said. "What a shame she has to live her life with this."
Wilson said he hoped to be a part of an effort to raise awareness about the dangers of drinking and driving.
Randall is survived by his wife of 52 years, Doris. They have four children and 14 grandchildren.
During Friday's bail hearing, the Randall family and other members of Gethsemane Baptist Church packed the courtroom. Members of both families cried throughout the hearing, said Pete Strom, Reames' attorney.
"The Reames family apologized lots of times," Strom said.
Reames, who is from Camden, is studying criminal justice and has a 3.6 grade point average, Strom said. She works part time at a local law firm, he said.
Strom said he did not know where his client had been prior to the accident or where she was going. She will receive alcohol addiction treatment, he said.
"All she has done in my conversations with her is cry," he said.
If convicted, Reames faces a maximum of 25 years in prison.
While Reames must face some justice for her actions, 25 years is too harsh, Williamson, the preacher, said.
"All Mrs. Randall could say is she hopes this girl's life can be changed," Williamson said. "In Rev. Randall's point of view, he would hope this girl gets to know the Lord."